Siemens recently announced they’re moving towards field replaceable encoders, meant to reduce the amount of time it takes to change servomotors from one type of encoder to the next without the need for a technician. But is it a good idea?
Incremental encoders and permanent encoders are very fragile things. They’re often made out of glass and contain sensitive sensors to detect changes in light or magnetic field and, when handled improperly, can break easily. As it stands now, encoders are inside of the motor case and positioned in such a way that they’re protected from harm but they can still break over time as they are weakened due to high temperatures. It takes a technician to fix and replace them in most cases now, which often means expensive downtime and change-outs.
The ability to change out a broken encoder quickly and easily is appealing for manufacturers, especially since anyone can do it—or so Siemens says. However, there are a few things to consider. Since encoders can be easily broken, especially incremental encoders, it could mean installing a brand new encoder and breaking it in the process if done incorrectly. It could also give plant managers faith in being able to change out parts if necessary for replacement fixes when that’s not the appropriate action, further slowing down repair time.
What’s the best move when something needs to be replaced? Call an experienced professional, like those on our team, to determine the problem and take the right action to fix it. Professional technicians know that encoders need tender loving care and how to install them correctly—as well as what symptoms of a broken encoder looks like. You don’t have time to guess what the problem is so why build in something where that’s the first option to take?